Sending a satellite to space is a lot of fun, but it is even more fun if the satellite has an interesting aim as well! The Da Vinci Satellite has been developed such that students in primary and high schools can bring space to their own classrooms. Take this in the literal sense; with the Da Vinci Satellite students in primary and high schools can discover and explore the effects of space via research machines/payload modules onboard of the satellite!
For the primary and high schools multiple lesson plans have been and are being developed. Everybody should be able to access these lessons free of charge as soon as the satellite is in orbit about Earth!
A primary school is the perfect place to discover a passion for space! Space is something that truly sparks the kids’ imagination; it is beautiful, extremely big, complicated and abstract – How can we make space as approachable and fun as possible?
We have investigated this within the classroom, by asking children in primary schools: “What would you like to do in space?”, the overwhelming response being “We want to play a game with a satellite in space!”. With this answer in mind we started to develop, together with ‘de Leidse instrumentenmakers School’, a payload module on board of the satellite with which the kids can play dice games. The module is, simply put, five dice (each with a different colour) floating in space in a cylinder. These dice can be thrown with a special arm that can move within the cylinder. At the end of every throw a picture is made with Earth in the background and sent from space toward the classroom!
To the Right an example of such a picture, this picture was made during testing on Earth!
For this module we have made multiple educational games for kids! These games can be played by kids individually or in classrooms with their friends.
We are combining the educational games with an adventure in which the kids will discover step-by-step the wonders of space – We start here, at Earth, and we will gradually zoom out to investigate the complete solar system. This module has been developed together with and for SpaceBuzz, this module will also be part of the SpaceBuzz program!
This year, a new lesson plan will be developed as well: ‘Space is closer than you think’. With this lesson pack we want to focus on the inquisitive and curious nature of young kids by brining space closer to home, literally. Our aim is to make objects and sights in space tangible and see-able for kids – did you know that basically everything is made of star matter, and that you can see Jupiter from your garden this very night?
This year we are also investigating the option to develop an educational boardgame for kids.
For high school students, space offers the perfect opportunity to broaden their horizons in a challenging, creative and motivating way! Space technologies and influences can be seen and felt everywhere around us: this means that the Da Vinci Satellite can be used in lessons of ethics, history, social sciences and of course mathematics, computer sciences, chemistry and physics!
At this moment we are finalising a computer science lesson module. This computer science module lets the students investigate the orbit of the Da Vinci Satellite and the radiation the satellite receives within this orbit about Earth. To show the effects of this radiation, we’ve added a ‘bit-flip’ module on board of the satellite. Students can send an image to the satellite in orbit; this image is exposed to radiation in space and as a result small errors (bit-flips) will arise. These bit-flips are directly shown within the image: to the right you can see an example of an image with 5 bit-flips!
Additionally, we have started developing a Space-themed Masterclass for high school students. With this we want to inspire the students for space technology, space travel and its impact on society. The main idea is to create reusable lessons that can either be used individually or as a 7-week programme where students come to TU Delft once a week to attend a lesson. All lessons will be in English, with possible translation to Dutch in the future.
In order to create exciting and inspiring material, we would like to know what students are interested in and want to learn about. Ideally, we want to visit schools and get in touch with the students directly and we are looking for schools that are interested in a collaboration. If we have sparked your interest, please send us an email: [email protected]
If you are a high school student, we would be very happy if you could fill in our questionnaire.